Sunday, October 08, 2006

Macro Spotlight on Peter Navaro

Peter Navaro is a macro dynamo. Dr. Navaro teaches macroeconomics at the University of California at Irvine (UCI), and is a prolific writer. Professor Navaro has a special interest in the big –picture relationship between the stock market and the macroeconomy. He publishes a Daily Blog, and a Weekly Newsletter. The Weekly Newsletter is also available as a podcast.

These resources and much more are all available at Navaro’s website, called Peter Navarro's Well-Timed Strategies. Of particular interest to beginning macro students is Learn Economics, where students can download free multimedia lectures to learn the principles of macroeconomics (micro too).

Professor Navaro has an authored a new book called The Coming China Wars, which will be published sometime in October, 2006 by Prentice Hall. Here is the book jacket blurb: “China's breakneck industrialization is placing it on a collision course with the entire world. Tomorrow's China Wars will be fought over everything from decent jobs, livable wages, and leading-edge technologies to strategic resources such as oil, copper, and steel...even food, water, and air. In The Coming China Wars, best-selling author Peter Navarro previews all these potential conflicts—and reveals the urgent, radical decisions that must be made to avoid catastrophe.” I’ll read this book with great interest since I have had a long standing interest in China and the Chinese economy, having visited China on numerous occasions. I must confess that I don’t care for the “war” metaphor, but I suppose that is what it takes to grab attention and sell books in a competitive market.

A story that Navaro provides in his current Weekly Newsletter caught my eye, and that should be of interest to students who would like to do their Discussion Board post on the macro conditions in the housing markets:

“Longer term, I’d like to relate a conversation I had with a buddy who makes his living selling mortgages to the “Joe Sixpack” heart of America – his words, not mind. He’s on the phone 12 hours a day, hawking his wares all over the country so he’s a pretty good pulse on Americana. What he told me was a bit bone-chilling.

First, with the fall in housing prices, more and more people are hitting zero or negative equity in their homes. If rates rise further, more and more of these folks will walk away from their over-leveraged castles.

Second, and here’s the scary part, a lot of people now find themselves trapped in adjustable rate mortgages, unable to refinance. The reason is diabolical. With the fall in housing prices, they no longer have the equity and loan-to-value ratio to qualify for a new mortgage. So they are stuck in the ARMS of the bond market, and if interest rates do take off, these folks are going to take the worst whupping of their financial lives.

Lastly, the house as an ATM trend continues. But, my friend tells me, people are taking out smaller and smaller amounts because that’s all the equity that is left. Desperate to get cash to fuel their fantasies – or simply feed their families – these folks are likewise nearing the end of the dangerous rope.”

1 comment:

bobby fletcher said...

Here's Financial Time's review of Navarro's hate-China book:

The author offers no credible evidence to support the thesis of an aggressive Chinese quest for domination. When he discusses China's difficult internal social problems, he goes a long way towards contradicting it.

To suggest that China is engaged in "an aggressive drive for global economic hegemony" is nonsense. To assert that the US must respond with economic confrontation backed up by the threat of war is, to borrow a phrase from Jeremy Ben-tham, nonsense on stilts.